Overcoming the Ultimate Addiction

As humans, we have come to this planet to grow, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

To fit into the cyclical nature of these three realms, it is in our nature to form habits. These habits or compulsions can easily become dependencies and, in certain cases, even addictions.

In earlier chapters, we discussed the fact that actions are steeped in habit if performed without awareness. But habits can manifest at all three levels—physical, mental, and emotional. With habits, you still have a measure of control, and you can stop whenever you want, with only a little difficulty. With perseverance, a habit can be exchanged for another within two weeks. You may have the habit of drinking an espresso first thing every morning and decide to substitute it for herbal tea. This establishes a new habit. Or you may be a late riser who decides to retire earlier in the evenings so that you can wake up at dawn. In the case of habits, substitution works well.

With dependency, it is more difficult, and you will experience withdrawal when you do eventually attempt to stop. The drug creates a state of normality that is dependent on the presence of the drug—a different level of “normal”. When you are an addict, you have gone beyond your ability to stop at will. The craving overwhelms your will, and you have lost control over it.

Addiction can apply to any psychological dependency and not just mind-altering chemicals and stimulants. You can become addicted to sex, sweets, electronic games, or even love. And these addictions can become detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional health.

The first step toward overcoming addiction is to admit that you have a problem and that you have lost control. Then the healing can begin. If you can’t admit you have a problem, intervention is usually required.

Imagine you have been drinking vodka since you were five, and do so every day. Because you regard this as normal, you may not think you have a problem. I know a few functioning alcoholics personally, people I have taught over the years, who are absolutely convinced they don’t have a problem, even though their bodies start shaking by lunchtime if they haven’t had a drink. Yet they insist they don’t have a problem—functional alcoholics in denial.

If you think your addiction is normal, you may not be aware that you have a problem. When you start meditating or attempt to quiet your mind, one of the first things you will notice is that you can’t stop thinking. We take this condition as normal. Serving life, we don’t think of this as a problem, as long as the thinking stops when we go to sleep. When thoughts start invading your sleep, you may encounter insomnia, which is regarded as a disorder. But when thinking stops us from being in the present moment during waking hours, this is not considered a disorder. We think of this condition as normal. We don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking all day long.

The truth of the matter is that most of us have a thinking addiction over which we have lost control. We can’t stop thinking even when we want to. We wait until we are so tired that we can’t stay awake and then go to sleep. We accept this as normal. For a self-realized person, this is not normal. A self-realized person thinks and feels only when they want to.

Our intellect is like a car without an off switch. It keeps running with thoughts until it runs out of fuel. If you had a car that you couldn’t switch off, would you accept that as normal?

While the intellect has energy, we are overwhelmed by the compulsion to remember, reason, infer, or imagine. Giving it more energy, by doing pranayama, for example, only exaggerates the problem. We then confront it with sleeping pills, and groggy days. Or we displace it with other addictions that are worse, like drinking to forget. Or we take drugs to step beyond the confining boundaries of logical reasoning. Some watch movies to distract their intellect. Others play games. Do you think this situation is acceptable?

But even after distracting the intellect with something it found interesting, we still end up thinking while cooking, eating, walking, or driving, and sometimes even while we are making love because we have lost our natural ability to stop thinking and step beyond the mental realm and simply be in the present moment. As young children, we had the natural ability to simply be, but since then, we have lost the “off” switch of the intellect.

The constant vacillation of the mind between the past and the future causes tremendous levels of stress in our systems, often causing our bodies to become ill or our hearts to shrink. If left untreated, it will destroy the quality of our lives—no energy will be passed on to the emotional realm. If you leave it untreated, thinking will consume everything you have. Throwing prescription drugs at it is not the solution! That is simply swapping one dependency for another.

Once you admit that you suffer from thought addiction, the solution is at hand. A competent meditation instructor can provide you with techniques that will enable you, at will, to step beyond this compulsion to think. You will no longer be a thought addict. Instead, you will become master of your own rational mind. Only then will it be possible for you to step into the present moment and connect to the Divine at your own choosing. The Divine is not in the past or the future. The Divine can be found only in the present moment. And you are available for communion with the Divine only if you can enter the present moment in a relaxed and receptive state of awareness. While you are occupied with thoughts, you are not in the present moment. Normally, when you are in the present, your awareness is concentrated, and the Divine cannot reach you. No matter how hard you pray.

If you have learned techniques before, but they have not given you this ability to stop thoughts and enter a relaxed and receptive state of mind while in the present moment, you should not give up or abandon your search. The Maha Khala technique will allow you to step beyond this compulsion at will. It will allow you to step beyond the mind and enter the present moment with a relaxed state of awareness. This state will allow you to enter into communion with the Divine.

Without knowing how to step beyond thought addiction and into the present moment, and without knowing how to be in a receptive state of awareness in the present moment, willing contact with God is not possible. Though It can still happen, but not by choice, in a state of deep despair. What we think of as sincere prayer is often just the mind, deceiving us that we are in contact with God, while in our hearts we know this isn’t really true. There are a few lucky ones who know how to come into the present and surrender their rational minds to the Divine without any technique or instruction, but they are a very small minority. Most of us have no idea how to accomplish this.

Without stepping into the present moment, you have not gone all the way to meet with God. You have not become intimate with God. You have not become a lover of God. Then your relationship with God is still at the mental level—distant, like a relative you can call on for help, but not a lover. When you are filled with love, your service to others becomes effortless. The Divine Mother (Holy Spirit), is the inexhaustible source of unconditional love and keeps filling you if you remain surrendered to Her. When you lose this connection, you can be sure that the mind has intervened to cut you off from God. Don’t be fooled by your addiction. Look in your heart, and see if you want to be helped to go all the way, to become a lover of God, who is waiting for you with open arms.

If you are a Christian, and you have been going to church, but you were not filled with love during the service, the Maha Khala will help you to step beyond your intellect during the service so that you can enter into communion with God. You will know when you have–because you will be filled with love. It will make you a stronger Christian, a stronger supporter of the value of the church and its service. The same is true in the temple or the mosque.

Whatever your religion or path, if it has become stale and automatic, the Maha Khala will help.

As long as you give the modulations of the mind control over your life, as long as you remain surrendered to the mind, God will remain a concept, a belief. It is only when you step beyond your mind into your heart and beyond that God becomes a living, loving reality as the oneness of all.

If you are not intimate with God, it is simply because you are a thought addict. You can only come to trust when you can step beyond thought addiction and its judgments, which are designed to protect you. When you overcome this addiction and step into the heart, the mind has no choice but to follow the heart and become an instrument of its will.

1 Corinthians:

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing…

Be honest with yourself. If you can admit that you are a thought addict, the solution is at hand. Use the Maha Khala to step beyond thinking whenever you wish and become the master of your mental being.

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